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School of Science Kicks Off Remote Summer Research Program

The School of Science will kick off a remote version of its 12th annual Summer Research Program, a 10-week research experience for students, on June 1. Fourteen faculty members will work with 31 students to conduct research in all of the school’s disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science and software engineering.

This summer, students and their mentors will research topics including:

  • Harmful algal blooms in Monmouth County coastal lakes, estuaries, and ocean, led by Jason E. Adolf, Ph.D., associate professor of marine science
  • Gene therapy for the treatment of brain tumors, led by Martin Hicks, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology
  • Reptile and amphibian ecology and conservation in urbanized and suburbanized ecosystems, led by Sean C. Sterrett, Ph.D., assistant professor of wildlife ecology
  • Modeling energy transfer in light harvesting proteins: The role of molecular vibrations, led by Yana K. Kosenkov, Ph.D., lecturer of chemistry and physics
  • Hawks code: NAO robot programming, led by Jiacun Wang, Ph.D., professor of computer science and software engineering

A complete listing of the projects and project descriptions is available online.

The 2020 program runs through Friday, Aug. 7, with students presenting their work at the Summer Research Program Symposium to be held on Thursday, Aug. 6.

According to John Tiedemann, assistant dean in the School of Science, the Summer Research Program typically involves up to two dozen faculty mentors working with an average of 60-70 undergraduates in teams of research assistants in labs or in the field.  “Needless to say, the summer of 2020 is anything but typical,” Tiedemann said.

Tiedemann said that faculty members found innovative ways to begin their research projects while abiding by current social distancing restrictions, allowing for a remote version of the 2020 research program. Should the State of New Jersey relax work restrictions later this summer, research activities in laboratories as well as in the field may begin, Tiedemann explained.

For the past 11 years, the School of Science Summer Research Program has provided opportunities for students to participate in faculty-directed research projects. Funded in part by corporate and private contributions, including lead sponsor Bristol-Myers Squibb, students in the research program work as paid research assistants under the guidance of a faculty mentor, gaining hands-on experience in their field of study.

Tiedemann thanked the staff of the Provost’s office, human resources, student employment, and facilities management for their collaboration in making this year’s program happen.

For more information about the Summer Research Program or the application process, visit